76-year-old Hindenburg mystery busted
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 16:03
Apparently the power of socks can bring down a fully functional aircraft.
According to researchers, static electricity sparked the Hindenburg's fiery demise.
"As the hydrogen-filled blimp was landing in Lakehurst, N.J., on May 6, 1937, it suddenly burst into flames and crashed in front of shocked bystanders, killing 35 of the 100 passengers and crew on board—and putting an end to the short-lived air travel program," as stated in a Yahoo report.
In an Independent report, the chronological chain of events is laid out with an in-depth explanation of the crash.
The airship had become charged with static as a result of an electrical storm. A broken wire or sticking gas valve leaked hydrogen into the ventilation shafts, and when ground crew members ran to take the landing ropes they effectively "earthed" the airship. The fire appeared on the tail of the airship, igniting the leaking hydrogen.
"I think the most likely mechanism for providing the spark is electrostatic," said Mr. Stansfield. "That starts at the top, then the flames from our experiments would've probably tracked down to the center. With an explosive mixture of gas, that gave the whoomph when it got to the bottom," the report went on to say.
The Hindenburg crashed 76 years ago and has since then become the icon of transatlantic flight and disasters after it's tract from Germany to New York in 1937.
News footage of the disaster in 1937.